In spite of the fact that L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
(1900) is one of the most popular stories in America, relatively few people have actually read the book. It's well worth the effort! Young readers expecting rainbows, Munchkin songs, and wicked witches with burning brooms will instead find a complex country populated with mocking Hammerhead men, dainty people made out of china, and fierce monsters with heads of tigers and bodies of bears. Through the fantastic land of Oz ramble Dorothy and her trusty companions--Toto, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Lion--each seeking his or her heart's desire. Although the premise of the book and the 1939 movie is the same, the book--as so often is the case--delivers a far more subtle and intricate plot. A child's imagination will run rampant in these pages as one extraordinary creature after another leads the motley crew into strange and magical adventures. (All ages) --Emilie Coulter
From School Library Journal
Grade 2-7-One of a series of books-on-cassette that are abridged and performed as a play, this was produced to coincide with the re-release of the movie. However, this recording follows the book, not the film. The differences are significant. The book is set inside the frame of gray Kansas, but the film makes that frame much more important than it is in the book. There are no hired hands, and the witchy neighbor does not threaten Toto before the tornado comes. When Dorothy returns from Oz, she lands in a field outside the new house her aunt and uncle built while she was gone, and all Aunt Em says is, "Where in the world did you come from?" This narrow frame makes the story of the journey to Oz the only focus of the story. There are also some new characters to meet that were left out of the film. The recording is technically excellent, with expressive voices and sparingly used music and sound effects. A narrator fills in the gaps where description is necessary. This will be a popular addition to library shelves, although librarians should be prepared to answer questions about the differences.George Pilling, Tulare County Office of Education, Visalia, CA
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